Backcountry Camping Trail
ElevationAscent: 18' 5 m
Descent: -13' -4 m
High: 3,979' 1,213 m
Low: 3,966' 1,209 m
GradeAvg Grade: 0% (0°)
Max Grade: 1% (0°)
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“A shorter alternative to Alkali Flat Trail, this loop offers a similar adventure in the dunes.”— Brian Smith
Remember that sand is hard on shoes. It's abrasive, it gets into every little part, it's hard to clean out, it stiffens everything up. Bring an older pair if possible.
Pack out everything you bring, including anything that your dog may leave behind. Refuse and biowaste doesn't degrade well in the desert, as there's very little water to break it down.
The trail is approximately 2.2 miles round-trip and is fairly strenuous as it meanders up and down over the dunes. The average completion time for the trail is roughly 1.5 hours.
A surprising variety of animals live in White Sands. Beetles, snakes, and lizards are the most common and aren't hard to find. Hawks soar overhead, and owls can be found hunting prey. Mice and several types of foxes make their home here as well. Larger predators, like coyotes and bobcats, are not unheard of.
One especially unique feature to the area are species of mice, insects, and lizards who have evolved white coloration to camouflage them against the gypsum dunes. These animals are endemic to White Sands and aren't found anywhere else in the world.
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Land Manager: National Park Service - White Sands National Monument